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 State, Provincial and International Reviews 
Thursday, January 14 2016
Beyond the Buzz: America's Best State for Business

Utah. Really? Isn’t that one of those flyover states?

Not anymore. Utah has put itself on the map as an economic powerhouse, a premier business destination and an incredible place to live, work and play.

Since the recession, and year after year, Utah’s economic outlook has received top billing from national thought leaders. In October, Forbes magazine ranked Utah the No. 1 Best State for Business and Careers—for the fifth time in six years. (In 2013, Utah ranked No. 3, but nobody’s perfect.) Just weeks later, Pollina Corporate Real Estate and the American Economic Development Institute (AEDI) named Utah the No. 1 Pro-Business State for the fourth year in a row.

These accolades rest on a strong foundation. For example, Utah’s five percent corporate tax rate hasn’t changed in nearly twenty years. Electric power and natural gas rates are among the lowest in the nation. National scorecards recognize Utah for offering quality healthcare at the lowest cost. Combine these assets with a growing workforce, accessible infrastructure and a dynamic economy, and you’ll understand what all the buzz is about. 

Posted by: AT 09:15 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, January 14 2016
Charting a New Journey in Nebraska's Economic Growth and Development

As newly-elected Governor Pete Ricketts took office in January 2015, a new journey in economic growth and development was charted in the State of Nebraska. In his State of the State Address, Governor Ricketts outlined areas of focus, including creating jobs, implementing a career and vocational training program, encouraging small business growth and expansion, creating a new plan for attracting business investment and relocations, and strategically approaching new and expanding world trade opportunities. 

Targeted industries that continue to support and sustain Nebraska’s growing and thriving economy include Software and Technology, BioSolutions, Transportation, Distribution and Logistics, Manufacturing, and Research and Development and Engineering.

Graepel North America cut the ribbon on a new 45,000 sq. ft. manufacturing facility in Sarpy County in March 2015, where 30 specialists manufacture products for companies including John Deere, Claas, Caterpillar, Kenworth, Peterbilt and Freightliner. Graepel opened its first North American facility in Sarpy County in 2006. 

Posted by: AT 09:10 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, January 14 2016
The Mississippi Advantage is Fueling Success for Global Companies

To achieve sustainable success in today’s fast-paced economy, companies require a competitive advantage, and global leaders across a wide range of industry sectors are finding that advantage in Mississippi. 

All across the state, economic development professionals at the state, regional and local levels work together to provide companies with a business environment fostering innovation, growth and longevity. This collaboration includes using available resources to meet the unique needs of today’s businesses, helping ensure their long-term success.

Mississippi’s competitive energy rates and low operating costs combined with the state’s seamless, one-stop permitting process amplifies the strong business climate that companies expect from a Mississippi location. Additionally, Mississippi knows a well-trained, available workforce is a top priority for companies seeking a new location or businesses looking to grow existing operations. The state partners with its top-ranked network of 15 community colleges to provide customized workforce training programs to ensure Mississippi’s workers not only meet – but exceed – companies’ expectations across the board, from aerospace to agribusiness, advanced manufacturing to automotive.

Posted by: AT 09:05 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, January 14 2016
Manufacturing Site Selection in Mexico - The Changing Landscape

By Ralph Biedermann, Managing Director of Mexico Consulting Associates

Although our memories often do not serve us well, this year marks the 50th birthday of what is still called today “Mexico’s Maquiladora Industry.” Established in 1965, the program known then as the Border Industrialization Program, was designed to bring economic development to the border region following the cancellation of the Bracero Program between the U.S. and Mexico. The Bracero Program came into being through Executive Order and interim agreements in July-August of 1942 and sought to allow Mexican laborers to legally enter the U.S. on a temporary basis to work in agriculture and the railroads. The final agreement between the countries went into effect on April 26, 1943 and lasted until December of 1964, when the program’s renewal failed to pass Congress. In its 22-year lifespan, over 4.5 million Mexican citizens legally worked in the U.S., primarily in Texas and California.

With the collapse of the Bracero Program, Mexico had a dilemma. The unemployed labor in the border cities, primarily men, that had resided in those cities temporarily while waiting for employment in the U.S. The government had attempted to develop the border area economically as early as the 1930s. And, in 1933 the government had developed a “Free Zone Law” in order to increase trade which began with Tijuana and moved east. In 1960 the government asked Jaime Bermudez of Cd. Juarez to head a new program, called the National Border Program (PRONAF), to transform the border region. When Bracero ended, the government decided to roll the basics of the National Border Program into a broader effort - the Border Industrialization Program (BIP). That was announced in May of 1965, became effective in August of 1966, and was fully implemented in 1967.

Posted by: AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, January 13 2016
Kentucky's Automotive Footprint Grows Even Larger in 2015

By Brandon Mattingly, Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development

Already an automotive-industry national leader, Kentucky made tremendous strides in 2015, deepening its sector ties that stretch back to 1913 - when the state’s first Model T rolled out of a Ford assembly plant in Louisville. Today, whether looking to Ford’s upcoming production of all-new aluminum-bodied Ford Super Duty trucks, rollout of the first American-built Lexus (the ES 350) from Toyota’s flagship U.S. plant, or construction of the Corvette (the country’s most blistering and cutting-edge family of sports cars), industry watchers worldwide recognize Kentucky for its deep automotive resources, skilled workers and top-level achievements.

Through early December, nearly 75 automotive announcements brought more than $2.7 billion of investment and more than 4,800 new full-time jobs to Kentucky. Even more telling, the nature of the projects put Kentucky ahead of the curve in the ever-evolving automotive industry.

Posted by: AT 11:17 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, January 13 2016
Businesses Thrive in the Sunflower State

In the 2015 Pollina Corporate Real Estate survey, Kansas is the fifth most business-friendly state in the nation. This ranking is based on 32 factors that are controlled by state government. This is also Kansas’ tenth year in a row ranking in the top 10. Since last fall, Kansas has gained more than 13,000 private sector jobs for the Kansas economy. This survey is evidence that businesses of all sizes and industries continue to thrive in Kansas.

Part of this success is due to the positive and productive business climate in the Sunflower State. “With a population of just over 2.9 million, Kansas packs a heavy economic punch with a proactive legislative and regulatory environment and major advantages in costs, taxes, skilled workforce and major transportation assets. All of this has combined to make the Sunflower State a haven for investment and innovation,” said Antonio Soave, Secretary for the Kansas Department of Commerce.

Kansas has a unique environment for business success. Not only does Kansas boast tax policies that make it easy for small businesses to succeed, but there are additional business incentives available through the Department of Commerce that can help businesses grow and bring additional jobs to the state.

Posted by: AT 09:10 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, January 13 2016
Illinois: Local Assets, Global Growth

At the beginning of his second year in office, Governor Rauner remains committed to reforming Illinois state government and putting the state back on solid financial ground through fiscally-responsible budgets and growing the state’s economy. With a strong background in business, Governor Rauner understands the issues that matter to businesses and the importance of creating an environment that encourages innovation, entrepreneurship and investment in Illinois. One of Governor Rauner’s early priorities was to advocate reducing corporate and income taxes in Illinois, almost immediately resulting in a boost to the state’s business climate ratings. Governor Rauner has laid out a vision for economic development in Illinois that promotes broad-based growth by reducing the cost of business through comprehensive workers compensation and unemployment insurance reform, enhancing the assets that made Illinois a global economy, developing industry clusters with high-growth potential, and supporting small and midsize business owners and entrepreneurs. The governor has prioritized business attraction and retention, working closely with businesses in Illinois and beyond to explore how the state can be a partner in their success and growth.

Posted by: AT 09:05 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Wednesday, January 13 2016
Florida: First for Job Creation

Florida is already considered a top location for global leaders like Embraer, Johnson & Johnson, General Electric and Amazon. Now, a new wave of industries, innovations and investments are ensuring that the Sunshine State continues to be one of the best states for business.

Nothing illustrates the breadth of Florida’s success more than the growing number of new private-sector jobs. Since December 2010, the state has added more than one million high-wage, high-skill positions. Statewide, the unemployment rate is down to 5.0 percent, the lowest in seven years. Florida’s private-sector job growth rate of 3.6 percent (as of November 2015) has exceeded that of the nation since April 2012. Florida’s private-sector job growth has been positive for 49 consecutive months. With this momentum, Florida is well on its way to being the No. 1 state in the nation for job creation.

The factors driving Florida’s job growth are rooted in the state’s market opportunity, highly-skilled workforce, expansive infrastructure and easy access to domestic and international markets. Combine these assets and you get one of the best business climates in the country.

Posted by: AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
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